Monday, August 8, 2011

Ireland Revisited: Reunion with an Old Friend

Day 5 of 35: Sunday, August 8, 2010

We spent this day settling in to our new/old digs and strolling around the Birr Castle Demesne. We had hoped to see our old friend, White Socks (also known as The Bothy Cat), but thought that we probably wouldn't quite so soon in our stay. After all, four years ago she took more than a week before she figured that we were okay and started her regular visits. Also, Lady Rosse had told us during the course of our e-mails setting up this stay that the cat now is being cared for by Jimmy, a gardener, over near the glasshouses, so she's not spending as much time near the cottage as she used to.

Early this morning, before Diane was fully functional, I walked over to the kitchen garden where four years ago the Bothy Cat had shown us her nest in a bit of hedge, thinking that I might catch a glimpse of her there. I did, and in fact we had a good long chat. I wasn't so rude as to tell her aloud, but she has aged a bit in four years: the underlying red of her coat is significantly more obvious now, and there are a few nicks in her ears -- but she's still a sweetie.

Noms then and now: on the Bothy kitchen windowsill in 2006 (left) and 2010

Later, in the evening after the grounds were closed to the public (lots of visitors on this Sunday of warm sunshine!) I went back to visit with her again. This time, after a little discussion, she followed me back past the formal gardens, through our little gate in the wall, and to the Bothy for a nosh and a visit with Diane.

A wary walk home

When she was done eating, she made it clear by standing in the wall doorway that she didn't want me to close the gate behind her unless I went with her -- she seemed much more wary of her surroundings this time than last (and with good reason, as we found out a few days later.) So I walked with her most of the way back home to the gardeners' area before leaving her and returning to the Bothy.

The next morning we found a dead field mouse in front of the Bothy's front door. We presume that it was a gift from our old friend.

The Bothy's sitting room, freshly refurbished

In between the morning and evening visits with our friend, we spent the day at home and wandering the grounds, quietly reveling in being back in Birr Castle Demesne. (I also started the Benches of Birr Castle Demesne project on this day, an effort that was the topic of a previous post in this blog.) A few images from the day, which can be seen larger by clicking on them:

The fernery...

... the old brick bridge over the Little Brosna...

... the Camcor near where it joins the Little Brosna...

... the trail along the Camcor behind the Lake...

... the Lake...

... and its ducks...

... the great telescope's south supporting wall...

... and the Parsons' house in late evening, slanting sunlight.

A very short slide show from this day can be seen by clicking here.

Next: August 9, 2010 -- Waterford
Previous: August 7, 2010 -- Back to Birr!
Beginning of the series: Prologue, August 2

1 comment:

ronnie said...

The Bothy Cat! How lovely to see her again!